The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry

The Leading Professional and Representative Body for the Real Estate Industry



Daily News – 27, 28 & 29 March 2021 (Sat, Sun & Mon)

Singapore Real Estate

Code of conduct lays out fair tenancy practices for landlords, tenants
Singapore – Landlords and tenants of retail premises will soon have to abide by a code of conduct that lays out fair tenancy practices. It will apply to lease agreements entered into on or after June 1 with a tenure of more than one year. One key guideline is charging rent based on a single computation. This means that the rent structure must not have a formula of “either/or, whichever is higher”.

Panel unveils plans to ensure fair deal for retail tenants
A new initiative was introduced yesterday by an industry-led committee to ensure that retail tenants are given a fair deal in their lease agreements. The Fair Tenancy Pro Tem Committee has also recommended that the Government introduce laws to ensure landlords and tenants comply with a code of conduct. This was confirmed at a media briefing by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, who said the Government supports the committee’s recommendation and will be working closely with industry stakeholders on the details in the next few months.

Construction firms to get extension of relief from contract obligations
Construction companies will have a further six months of reprieve from legal and enforcement action for their building and supply contracts. The Ministry of National Development (MND) said yesterday that it would be introducing amendments to the law to allow the relief period to be extended to Sept 30. The current relief period ends at the end of this month.

Construction industry takes digital leap forward
Architects, engineers, contractors and fabricators can now tap a new integrated platform to collaborate digitally on construction projects, reducing reliance on paper-based processes. The Hubble platform, which allows the stakeholders in the construction value chain to design, fabricate, manage and monitor work sites in real time, was launched yesterday, in line with the Government’s push to digitalise the built environment industry.

Buying properties in the virtual world
(Bloomberg) – Investors may not be clamouring to buy offices and hotels right now, but in virtual reality, property deals are surging and attracting millions of real-life dollars. It was inevitable, then, that someone would start a fund. Republic Real Estate, a firm that is raising money to buy distressed condos in the physical world, is launching an invite-only fund aimed at investors seeking to buy virtual land. The venture plans to purchase parcels across several online “metaverses” and develop them into virtual hotels, stores and other uses, with the goal of increasing their value among cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

HDB and A*Star team up to advance smart-construction know-how
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) on Friday announced that they have inked two collaborations – one to develop and adopt 5G-enabled smart-construction technologies, and the other, to facilitate partnerships and commercialisation of the research outcomes developed by agencies under the Ministry of National Development (MND). The first collaboration involves a research collaboration agreement (RCA) between HDB and A*Star’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) for the development and adoption of 5G-enabled robotic, drone, and artificial-intelligence technologies to raise productivity and improve safety at construction sites.

Million-dollar HDB flats: Who’s buying them
Singapore – How much would a resale Housing Board flat with unfettered views of Chinatown heritage shophouses on one side and the Central Business District (CBD) skyline on the other be worth? Nothing less than $1.232 million. That is the amount Mr Lei, a 40-something family man who works in a bank, paid for his five-room HDB flat at The Pinnacle @ Duxton. The 42nd-floor unit at Cantonment Road currently ranks as the third-most expensive HDB flat ever sold in Singapore.

Where HDB upgraders are moving to
Singapore’s public housing market posted a stunning performance last year. There were more than 25,000 resale flat transactions, and this was the highest sales volume recorded in eight years. Prices of resale flats pushed new boundaries in many locations, and the overall price index rose by 5 per cent last year. The improving market sentiment and rising HDB resale prices made it more favourable for some flat owners to ascend the property ladder. As a result, the number of Singaporeans owning private homes surged substantially.


Singapore Economy

S’pore factory output rose 16.4% in February
Singapore’s manufacturing output surged last month on robust demand for semiconductors and related equipment, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, according to data released yesterday by the Economic Development Board (EDB). The 16.4 per cent increase in last month’s production from a year ago topped the 15.8 per cent growth forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg poll and the upwardly revised 9.2 per cent rise in January.

Temasek sees impact investing at inflection point
Temasek believes that impact investing has reached an inflection point, with the coronavirus pandemic highlighting deep social imbalances that have intensified the need for such forms of investments. Such investments, made to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact, as well as financial returns, grew to US$715 billion (S$964 billion) in 2019 from US$502 billion a year earlier, the Global Impact Investing Network estimated in a survey.


Companies’ Brief

Vaccines, return of travel prompt upgrades for hotel trusts
Travel – both domestic and international – is on the rise, and owners of hotel properties should see income growth this year. CGS-CIMB has therefore upgraded its calls on Ascott Residence Trust (ART) and CDL Hospitality Trust (CDLHT) – to “add” from “hold” – and raised its target prices on expectations of faster revenue recovery. It has a target price of S$1.43 for CDLHT, up from S$1.24 previously. Its target price for ART is S$1.20, up from S$1.08.

CapitaLand’s big restructuring: Is this the deal investors have been waiting for?
If I have learned anything from watching CapitaLand over the last two decades, it is that the group never admits to being at a disadvantage; and never tires of imagining what it could become in the future. This aggressive let’s-make-lemonade-with-our-lemons attitude is admirable. But, for investors, it can mean having to cope with shifting strategies, and swallowing seemingly strange justifications from the group for its corporate actions.

Certis in tie-up with Lendlease to redevelop headquarters
Advanced integrated security services organisation Certis is teaming up with Australia-headquartered property giant Lendlease to redevelop its ageing headquarters in the Paya Lebar area. Market watchers say it makes sense for Certis to partner Lendlease, which has expertise in property development, construction and management. Moreover, Lendlease is familiar with the locale, having developed Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), an integrated mixed-use project that has rejuvenated the area.

Yanlord Land chair ups stake by 7 million shares
For the five trading sessions that spanned March 19 to 25, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 0.1 per cent while the Nikkei 225 Index, Hang Seng Index and S&P/ASX 200 Index averaged a 3.7 per cent decline. This has brought the STI’s total return for the 2021 year to March 25 to 10.9 per cent. Within the STI, City Developments, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings, UOB, ComfortDelGro Corporation, UOL Group and Mapletree Industrial Trust received the highest net institutional inflows from March 19 to 25.

Back-to-office crowd a godsend to S-Reits
With over 799,000 residents in Singapore having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the government has announced last Wednesday, more relaxation of workplace arrangements. From April 5, up to 75 per cent of staff can return to the workplace at any one time, an increase from the current 50 per cent. In addition, work from home will no longer be the default and split-team arrangements are also no longer mandatory.


Views, Reviews, Forum & Others

Ensuring that shareholders are heard
Chia Ngiang Hong, President, Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS)

Virtual and physical meetings have their own respective pros and cons. A hybrid allows shareholders to circumvent geographical or administrative obstacles that may hinder attendance without depriving other shareholders the opportunity to engage company directors in person. I believe that as companies pivot towards better governance, transparency and shareholders’ engagement, the benefits of virtual AGMs could outweigh physical meetings as technology enablers develop and evolve further.

Adding up what the Budget means for now and the future
Every national Budget contains numbers, lots of them. But each number has meaning. One number may mean a reprieve for families whose finances have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, another gives businesses hurt by the same some breathing room. One string of numbers may bring relief to people who have lost their jobs. Another may give younger Singaporeans, including students and their parents, a glimpse of the country’s future economy, through the investments the Government makes.

Crypto craze: Digital assets gaining traction in Singapore
Singapore – Singapore-based digital assets exchange Zipmex raised US$6 million (S$8 million) in its latest funding round in January, well above its target of US$4 million. This was no fluke: the exchange raised US$1.9 million in a seed round in January 2019 and a further $3 million in September that year. It is not alone in its growth. Digital assets such as cryptocurrencies have been rapidly gaining traction worldwide.

S’pore public servants to work 3 days in office, 2 days at home as Covid-19 rules eased
Singapore – Singapore’s largest employer, the Government, is encouraging public servants who can work from home to return to the office three out of five working days as a general guideline. This follows an easing of Covid-19 measures announced last week, allowing up to three-quarters of a firm’s employees who are able to work from home to return to the workplace at any one time, up from 50 per cent now.


Update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Situation

Singaporean who returned from India among 12 new imported Covid-19 cases
Singapore – A Singaporean who had returned from India was among the 12 new Covid-19 cases reported by the Ministry of Health on Sunday (March 28). All 12 cases were imported had been placed on stay-home-notice or isolated upon arrival into Singapore, said MOH. Among the new cases announced on Sunday, 10 were asymptomatic and detected through proactive screening and surveillance, while two were symptomatic.

mRNA vaccines best at protecting against variants
Covid-19 vaccines that use mRNA technology have been found to be the best at preventing symptomatic infection from variant strains, a comparison of the efficacy levels of different vaccines against the variants has shown. mRNA vaccines, notably the ones developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, involve injecting snippets of the virus’ genetic material – and not the whole virus – into the body to stimulate an immune response.

Experts address current issues regarding vaccines
An hour-long webinar last Thursday brought together local and international experts to discuss the latest medical and scientific findings about the coronavirus. Here are some highlights.

Covid-19 cluster at Mandarin Orchard hotel remains a mystery
Singapore – Three months on, officials are no closer to solving the mystery behind the cluster of 13 Covid-19 cases that emerged at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel at the end of last year. After two weeks of investigations, with the help of experts from other fields, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has not been able to say how the virus had spread within this group. Apart from a couple who had flown in from Britain, the rest did not know one another.

‘Minimal wastage’ of Covid-19 vaccine doses in Singapore: MOH
Singapore – There is “minimal wastage” of Covid-19 vaccine doses in Singapore as the vaccination programme is ramped up, with take-up rates carefully monitored through appointment bookings. The monitoring enables advance planning of vaccine needs to facilitate shipment and delivery of an appropriate number of doses to vaccination sites, the Health Ministry was quoted as saying in a CNA report on Friday (March 26).

30,000 more migrant workers across 30 dorms to receive jabs
About 30,000 migrant workers across 30 dormitories are scheduled to get their first Covid-19 jabs in the coming weeks, as the vaccination exercise for dormitory residents moves into its next phase. Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said yesterday that the first phase has been completed, with 97 per cent of about 9,000 eligible workers receiving their first doses. Rolled out two weeks ago, it targeted 10,000 residents in five of the largest purpose-built worker dormitories here.

From July 1, no quarantine for vaccinated tourists visiting Phuket
Bangkok • Thailand will waive quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors arriving on the resort island of Phuket from July 1, the first key reopening for the tourism-reliant nation. An economic panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday approved the proposal by Phuket’s private sector and business groups to inoculate at least 70 per cent of the island’s residents to prepare for the reopening for vaccinated tourists, said Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.
*For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health (MOH) website and refer to for updates on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) situation


Global Economy & Global Real Estate

US set for big jobs surge with more vaccinated and economy picks up

A private tech city opens for business in Honduras

New shop concept for US retailers

Biden reveals 2024 plan, raises vaccination target

Nationwide, Santander among UK banks to slash office space

Americans’ personal income dips 7% in Feb as effect of stimulus cheques fades

UK gets on with fast-paced vaccination roll-out, but easing of lockdowns may cause delay in achieving targets

Canada watching housing markets ‘very closely’

Ikea’s malls arm buys retail property in the centre of Toronto

Australia ends pandemic wage subsidy despite job loss warnings

Hong Kong home prices rise 0.9% in Feb; fastest pace in nine months

Most Covid-19 cases in Wuhan showed no symptoms, study finds

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